new competition for our grads

| 2 Comments

primates.gifVia Pete Bevin, I found Primate Programming, Inc., which "is dedicated to the advancement and gainful employment of non-human great apes within the United States information technology sector."

According to a recent press release, "experiments last month with baboons have proved that higher primates can perform software testing, traverse complex menus, and code simple XML schemas. The finding have implications for the entire software industry, with some scientists predicting routine programming such as maintenance and report writing will be performed by teams of primates within 10 years."

I particularly liked this passage:

McAuliffe discovered the subject baboon behavior did not include the sharing of source code. In fact, many subjects were territorial, in some cases blocking the progress of other animals, with aggressive and subtle passive-aggressive behaviors. Males who could manipulate the laptop keyboard and traverse complex, multi-way menus gained an immediate increase in social status within the group. This led to some social friction, as more knowledgeable males enjoyed higher social status at the expense of then-alpha, more physical males. None of the baboons, regardless of rank, could perform an error-free compile or handle Windows registry tasks.

2 Comments

The above is slightly confusing because it combines "gainful employment of non-human great apes" with "experiments last month with baboons". Of course, a baboon is not an ape. There are only 4 main species of great ape: gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans.

There is one species of lesser ape (which itself has at least 9 sub-species): the gibbon.

All other non-human primates are either sloths or monkeys.

Also, the phrase "non-human ape" is redundant, as no ape can be human. Homo habilis, circa 1.8 million years ago, was the first human, and was clearly not an ape. Our branch of primates split away from apes at least 3 million years ago.

There is moral issue to employing apes - in my opinion, as soon as they become able to participate in the monetary economy, it becomes vital to extend to them some of the rights the Constitution allows for humans. Otherwise, our society will again face some of the ugly moral issues we faced around slavery - why not just hire a few thousand apes to do work cheaply, and pay them with food?

Um...I'm pretty sure the site is intended as humor, not as a report of genuine scientific research.

 

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on August 4, 2003 11:10 AM.

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